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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

But Nobunaga selected Hideyoshi


may here be mentioned that three years later, in 1568, Hideyoshi succeeded in inducing all the territorial nobles of northern Ise, except Kusunoki Masatomo, to place themselves peacefully under Nobunaga's sway. Hideyoshi's history shows him to have been a constant believer in the theory that a conquered foe generally remains an enemy, whereas a conciliated enemy often becomes a friend. Acting on this conviction and aided by an extraordinary gift of persuasive eloquence, he often won great victories without any bloodshed. Thus he succeeded in convincing the Ise barons that Nobunaga was not swayed by personal ambition, but that his ruling desire was to put an end to the wars which had devastated Japan continuously for more than a century. It is right to record that the failures made by Nobunaga himself in his Ise campaign were in the sequel of measures taken in opposition to Hideyoshi's advice, and indeed the annals show that this was true of nearly all the disasters that overtook Nobunaga throughout his career, whereas his many and brilliant successes were generally the outcome of Hideyoshi's counsels.


In November, 1567, the Emperor again sent Tachiri Munetsugu to invite Nobunaga's presence in Kyoto. His Majesty still refrained from the dangerous step of giving a written commission to Nobunaga, but he instructed Munetsugu to carry to the Owari chieftain a suit of armour and a

sword. Two years previously to this event, the tumult in Kyoto had culminated in an attack on the palace of the shogun Yoshiteru, the conflagration of the building, and the suicide of the shogun amid the blazing ruins. Yoshiteru's younger brother, Yoshiaki, effected his escape from the capital, and wandered about the country during three years, supplicating one baron after another to take up his cause. This was in 1568, just nine months after the Emperor's second message to Nobunaga, and the latter, acting upon Hideyoshi's advice, determined to become Yoshiaki's champion, since by so doing he would represent not only the sovereign but also the shogun in the eyes of the nation. Meanwhile--and this step also was undertaken under Hideyoshi's advice--a friendly contract had been concluded with Asai Nagamasa, the most powerful baron in Omi, and the agreement had been cemented by the marriage of Nobunaga's sister to Nagamasa.


In October, 1568, Nobunaga set out for Kyoto at the head of an army said to have numbered thirty thousand. He did not encounter any serious resistance on the way, but the coming of his troops threw the city into consternation, the general apprehension being that the advent of these provincial warriors would preface a series of depredations such as the people were only too well accustomed to. But Nobunaga lost no time in issuing reassuring proclamations, which, in the sequel, his officers proved themselves thoroughly capable of enforcing, and before the year closed peace and order were restored in the capital, Yoshiaki being nominated shogun and all the ceremonies of Court life being restored. Subsequently, the forces of the Miyoshi sept made armed attempts to recover the control of the city, and the shogun asked Nobunaga to appoint one of his most trusted generals and ablest administrators to maintain peace. It was fully expected that Nobunaga would respond to this appeal by nominating Shibata, Sakuma, or Niwa, who had served under his banners from the outset, and in whose eyes Hideyoshi was a mere upstart. But Nobunaga selected Hideyoshi, and the result justified his choice, for during Hideyoshi's sway Kyoto enjoyed such tranquillity as it had not known for a century.

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